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Christian Missionary Role In India - 5
Even then, all that can be done is a protest, in our own country! *Sighs*..........

Moving on:
Gents, in the Bay area, there is a Cable TV channel called <b>AZN </b>. It covers Asian programming.

These days, I have started coming home for lunch because 'Discovery of India" is on between 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM. <!--emo&:tv--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tv_feliz.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tv_feliz.gif' /><!--endemo-->

While I do not particularly agree with JL Nehru's 'version' of Indian history, I still love the program as I have seen it in India when I was a child/teenager.

Discovery of India on AZN

The thing is, that this is a one hour show, and all the ad space seems to have been taken up by the evangelists. This is even more true when the Non-Mughal period is on. For example, Akbar's entire story was without any "Christian Gospel C.Ds" etc. kind of ads, but when it came to the story of Ashoka (and the spread of Buddhist Dharma), Lo and Behold, almost all the ads are Christian oriented.

Is this to protect the 'local white people' (or Non-Hindus) from getting 'converted' or is it to convert the Hindus?

Je ne sais pas.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The thing is, that this is a one hour show, and all the ad space seems to have been taken up by the evangelists. This is even more true when the Non-Mughal period is on. For example, Akbar's entire story was without any "Christian Gospel C.Ds" etc. kind of ads, but when it came to the story of Ashoka (and the spread of Buddhist Dharma), Lo and Behold, almost all the ads are Christian oriented.
Yes, you are right, paid by same group who are working very hard in India.
AZN had just finished showing Chanakya.
Have you noticed Namsete America ads in Bay Area?
Curb proselytism in Andhra Pradesh  -V. Sundaram

In Andhra Pradesh we have a Congress gvernment under a Christian Chief Minister
who takes instructions from an effete UPA Government in New Delhi which is
under the stranglehold of International Roman Catholicism. The Andhra Pradesh
government has been using its official agencies for purposes of
State-sponsored, State-aided and State-abetted proselytism in Andhra Pradesh in
a shamelessly flagrant manner during the last two years.

        Y Samuel Rajasekar Reddy seems to be under the mistaken impression that
he can behave like Henry VIII (1509-1547) of Tudor England and that he can take
Andhra Pradesh back to the 16th century using the International Roman Catholic
might of the UPA government in New Delhi.

        A great champion of Sanatana Dharma and one who is known for her
fearless journalism, Sandhya Jain has rightly observed in a recent article
entitled 'Sacrilege at Tirupati Hills: 'The current initiative of Sri
Swarupanandendra Swami of the Visakhapatnam-based Sri Sarada Peetham to
mobilise Hindu seers to protect dharma in the face of rising depredations by
evangelists has not come a day too soon. While religious conversions are
innately offensive, the rising political eminence of an Italian-born Roman
Catholic has witnessed a corresponding growth of aggressive proselytising at
famous Hindu pilgrimages and holy sites. Sonia Gandhi has reinforced missionary
muscle by sponsoring the rise of Christians in Congress State governments and
party units on an unprecedented scale. Non-Christian Congress Chief Ministers
have been made to acquiesce in missionary activities, and outrageously 'leaky'
welfare schemes have been floated for the benefit of the tax-free NGO industry,
most of which is anti-Hindu.' 

With his known hatred for Hinduism, Y Samuel Rajasekhara Reddy is unlikely
to ban physical and psychological
encroachment upon the sacred spaces of Hinduism. What is for Hindus, of cosmic,
significance and for proselytizers, of cosmic, significance, is that the Andhra
Pradesh government does not permit Panchayat elections in Tirumala in view of
its spiritual eminence and at the same time a Seventh Day Adventist Chief
Minister permits predatory monotheistic faiths with a proven criminal record of
international terrorism and violence for more than 1000 years to have a free run
of the Tirumala hills. The Governor of Andhra Pradesh should take serious note
of the blatantly anti-Hindu postures and policies of an Evangelical Chief
Minister in Andhra Pradesh and recommend to the President of India the
institution of appropriate proceedings for the prevention of inter-religious
wars in Andhra Pradesh and more particularly in Tirumala hills area.

        If Hindus in majority throughout India do not resist the diabolical
moves of Andhra Pradesh government and Sonia Gandhi, sooner than later we are
bound to have a significant Christian lobby in Parliament, through a
fraudulently conceived amendment altering the basic structure of the
Constitution of India. Sandhya Jain rightly concludes that an East Timor-like
situation could develop in any part of the country where Western Christian
nations have a geo-strategic or purely economic interest. Their lust for the
mineral-rich north-east predates independence and is fostered by insurgency
movements backed by various church denominations.

        Such fears are not unfounded even today. Four nuns were arrested from
the premises of Sri Venkateswara Ruia Government Hospital on charges of alleged
proselytism in the last week of June, 2006. According to hospital sources, the
nuns, who visited the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) funded government
hospital, asked the patients of their names and details to perform 'healing
prayers' in a local church last night. The hospital staff and attendants asked
the nuns not to indulge in such an act and leave the premises. On two earlier
occasions also, nuns had indulged in evangelical activities in Tirumala hills
and at the Sri Venkateswara University. By maintaining an attitude of
Christianity-coveting secular indifference, the Andhra Pradesh government has
so far remained neutral between the fire brigade and the fire.

        Taking note of the serious situation developing in Tirumala hills, His
Holiness Sri Sri Visweswara Theertha of Pejawar Mutt, Udipi appointed a Fact
Finding Committee in April, 2006, under the chairmanship of Justice G
Bikshapathy. This committee was requested to ascertain the factual position as
regards the activities of Non-Hindu religious communities in Tirumala and
Tirupathi and to furnish a report to His Holiness for considering the steps to
be taken to prevent undesirable activities of the Christian and other Non-Hindu

        The report of this committee was handed over to Sri Sri Visweswara
Theertha Swami of Pejawar Mutt at Bangalore on 3 July, 2006. Commenting on the
report of this Committee, Pejawar Swami condemned the evangelistic activities
in Tirumala Hills highlighted by the Fact Finding Committee. He stated: 'Every
religion must work with its own precincts. The trustees and employees of
temples must be Hindus and the government should take action against
missionaries who are propagating Christianity within the Tirumala Temple
premises. Temple funds should be used for the propagation of Hinduism. At the
moment they are being used to send people to Mecca'.

        The following are the major findings and recommendations of the Fact
Finding Committee appointed by Pejawar Swami:

        (i) Members of the Christian community distributed religious pamphlets
and copies of Bible to the students who were returning after writing the EAMCET
examinations conducted at various centres in Tirupathi in May, 2006. Some
student organizations protested against these activities. Police had to
intervene to maintain law and order.

        (ii) On 9 April, 2006, two Christians by name Balaraju (pastor) and Babu
while coming down from Tirumala to Tirupathi in bus distributed pamphlets
propagating Christianity to the pilgrims travelling in that bus.

        (iii) As per Rule 197 of APCHR and E Act 1987 the population living in
Tirumala shall adhere to the norms and shall follow the sentiments of Hindu
Religion. As such thorough probe has to be taken up to verify the antecedents
of Non-Hindu employees who are working in TTD. The identified employees and
their families shall be shifted from Tirumala.

        (iv) Some of the family members of the TTD employees such as wife,
children are practicing Christian ideology and inviting the Pastors to conduct
prayers in their houses at Tirumala. The above aspect may be carefully examined
and steps taken to prevent the above activities in Tirumala.

        (v) Two Christians viz. David (pastor) and Kumar, were found propagating
Christianity in Tirumala and they were handed over to police. The police seem to
have registered a case and kept them for two days on remand.

        (vi) On 21 May, 2006, Special Officer Sri Dharma Reddy held press
conference in which he stated that no Christian religious propaganda was going
on in Tirumala. It is evident that he is not taking a serious view of these
objectionable activities of the Christians at the holy place of Tirumala.

        (vii) Rule 198 of APCHR & E Act 1987 in which anti-Hindu activities have
been prohibited at Tirumala may be enforced ruthlessly without fear or favour.

        (viii) Educational institutions at Tirupathi were established on TTD
land and with TTD funds. It has been brought to the notice of the Committee
that in the colleges and hostels at Tirupathi, Christian religious propagation
is rampant. The Christian students themselves are acting as propagators. Sri
Deva Sangeetham, Principal of S V University College is openly indulging in
propagating and converting the students to Christianity by making them go to
Church, reading Bible and creating disaffection towards Hindu religion. After
Sri Deva Sangeetham has taken charge as Principal, the practice of garlanding
the portrait of Lord Venkateswara was stopped.

        (xi) After Veena Noble Das took charge as Vice-chancellor of Padmavathi
Mahila University, she got removed the photos of Lord Venkateswara and Goddess
Padmavathi from all the institutions of the Mahila University and she also got
removed the portrait of Lord Venkateswara from her office and discontinued the
practice of garlanding the portraits of Lord Venkateswara and Goddess
Padmavathi everyday. Instead she kept a portrait of Jesus Christ and the Cross
on her office table. She is sending batches of students in the University buses
to the church. It is also stated that in the Mahila University, the students are
not allowed to have tilak on the forehead now-a-days and that students putting
tilak are being discriminated.

        What is happening in Andhra Pradesh can only be summarized in the words
of John E Remsburg: 'The Bible is, for the most part, the crude literature of
the people who lived 2000 years, and more, ago. Certain principles of right and
wrong they recognized, but the finer principles of morality were unknown to

        They were an ignorant people. An ignorant people is generally a
religious people and a religious people nearly always an immoral people. They
believe that they were God's chosen people 'favourites' and that because of
this they had the right to rob and cheat, to murder and enslave the rest of
<b>Pope: Absence of God undermines truth about man and future of society</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In his message to the Spanish bishops, Benedict XVI urged Christians of Spain and the rest of the world to persevere in witnessing to Christianity even in the face of persecution, <b>to save the world from secularism</b>, which deprives it of the testimony of God who is love. There was a special greeting for families and seminarians. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> Well this is abt pope in spain but what he said there will have implications in India too in the form of increased efforts towards Project Joshua 2 & Thessalonica. His rants against secularism is shocking.It seems he wants a theocratic X'tian governments world over.Does the "secular Indian press" hear this? <!--emo&:furious--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/furious.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='furious.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Slavery reparations gaining momentum

By ERIN TEXEIRA, AP National Writer Sun Jul 9, 7:29 PM ET

Advocates who say black Americans should be compensated for slavery and its Jim Crow aftermath are quietly chalking up victories and gaining momentum.

Fueled by the work of scholars and lawyers, their campaign has morphed in recent years from a fringe-group rallying cry into sophisticated, mainstream movement. Most recently, a pair of churches apologized for their part in the slave trade, and one is studying ways to repay black church members.

The overall issue is hardly settled, even among black Americans: Some say that focusing on slavery shouldn't be a top priority or that it doesn't make sense to compensate people generations after a historical wrong.

Yet reparations efforts have led a number of cities and states to approve measures that force businesses to publicize their historical ties to slavery. Several reparations court cases are in progress, and international human rights officials are increasingly spotlighting the issue.

"This matter is growing in significance rather than declining," said Charles Ogletree, a Harvard law professor and a leading reparations activist. "It has more vigor and vitality in the 21st century than it's had in the history of the reparations movement."

The most recent victories for reparations advocates came in June, when the Moravian Church and the Episcopal Church both apologized for owning slaves and promised to battle current racism. The Episcopalians also launched a national, yearslong probe into church slavery links and into whether the church should compensate black members. A white church member, Katrina Browne, also screened a documentary focusing on white culpability at the denomination's national assembly.

The Episcopalians debated slavery and reparations for years before reaching an agreement, said Jayne Oasin, social justice officer for the denomination, who will oversee its work on the issue.

Historically, slavery was an uncomfortable topic for the church. <span style='color:purple'>Some Episcopal bishops owned slaves — and the Bible was used to justify the practice, Oasin said.

"Why not (take these steps) 100 years ago?" she said. "Let's talk about the complicity of the Episcopal Church as one of the institutions of this country who, of course, benefited from slavery."</span>

Also in June, a North Carolina commission urged the state government to repay the descendants of victims of a violent 1898 campaign by white supremacists to strip blacks of power in Wilmington, N.C. As many as 60 blacks died, and thousands were driven from the city.

The commission also recommended state-funded programs to support local black businesses and home ownership.

The report came weeks after the Organization of American States requested information from the U.S. government about a 1921 race riot in Tulsa, Okla., in which 1,200 homes were burned and as many as 300 blacks killed. An OAS official said the group might pursue the issue as a violation of international human rights.

The modern reparations movement revived an idea that's been around since emancipation, when black leaders argued that newly freed slaves deserved compensation.

About six years ago, the issue started gaining momentum again. Randall Robinson's "The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks," was a best seller; reparations became a central issue at the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa; and California legislators passed the nation's first law forcing insurance companies that do business with the state to disclose their slavery ties. Illinois passed a similar insurance law in 2003, and the next year Iowa legislators began requesting — but not forcing — the same disclosures.

Several cities — including Chicago, Detroit and Oakland — have laws requiring that all businesses make such disclosures.

Reparations opponents insist that no living American should have to pay for a practice that ended more than 140 years ago. Plus, programs such as affirmative action and welfare already have compensated for past injustices, said John H. McWhorter, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute.

"The reparations movement is based on a fallacy that cripples the thinking on race — the fallacy that what ails black America is a cash problem," said McWhorter, who is black. "Giving people money will not solve the problems that we have."

Even so, support is reaching beyond African-Americans and the South.

Katrina Browne, the white Episcopalian filmmaker, is finishing a documentary about her ancestors, the DeWolfs of Bristol, R.I., the biggest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She screened it for Episcopal Church officials at the June convention.

"Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North," details how the economies of the Northeast and the nation as a whole depended on slaves.

"A lot of white people think they know everything there is to know about slavery — we all agree it was wrong and that's enough," Browne said. "But this was the foundation of our country, not some Southern anomaly. We all inherit responsibility."

She says neither whites nor blacks will heal from slavery until formal hearings expose the full history of slavery and its effects — an effort similar to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission after apartheid collapsed.
Their Other "Dirty" Linen: Evangelism's Quest to Conquer the World

S. R. Welch
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->[Note: A slightly different version of this article was previously published under the title "Sins of the Missionaries" in the February/March 2004 issue of Free Inquiry magazine.]

Each year Americans contribute millions of dollars through corporate-giving campaigns and Sunday tithes to support the "faith-based" humanitarian work of overseas Christian missions. This work--feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving medicine to the sick--seems a worthy cause, an outwardly selfless endeavor unsullied by the salacious headlines and bitter disputes now roiling the life of the church at home.

But Christendom's missionaries bear their share of controversy. Though most private donors and corporate sponsors are unaware of it, overseas missions in certain parts of the world have long been embroiled in scandals involving allegations of predatory behavior towards the vulnerable. Though the largely poor and illiterate victims have complained loudly for decades, their allegations involve no sexual misconduct and thus garner few headlines in the West. Their outrage, vented from halfway across the globe, rarely reaches English-language media at all.

Evangelism is waged in earnest in a large swath of the underdeveloped world spanning from North Africa to East Asia. Missionary strategists call this region the "Unreached Bloc" or the "Last frontier."[1] In the rural backwaters and isolated tribal hamlets of countries like India, missionaries routinely peddle the fruits of generosity--food and medicine--as "inducements" for conversion to Christianity. When these allurements fail, more-aggressive means may be employed, not barring fraud and intimidation. As we shall see below, in India at least, "harvesting" souls has become an end that justifies almost any means.

This subordination of humanitarian service to proselytizing is a matter of theology--evangelical Christians believe they hold a divine mandate, their "Great Commission" from God, to spread their creed. But it is also a matter of policy. During his 1998 visit to India, for example, Pope John Paul II bluntly stated that the Christianization of Asia is "an absolute priority" for the Catholic Church in the new millennium. He openly likened the Vatican agenda for that region to its conquest of the Americas in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His language, says Sanal Edamaruku, founder of New Delhi-based Rationalist International, leaves little room for interpretation, even among secular and progressive-minded Indian citizens. "It is, in fact, not the fantasy of [Hindu nationalists]," he states, "but hard reality ... nothing less than the conversion of ... the Hindus of the world is targeted."[2]

The church's "soldiers" in the field get the message. As a Mumbai (formerly Bombay)-based missionary whom we shall call Paul attests (he asked that his real name be withheld), he and his colleagues in India have been unequivocally instructed by their superiors to "work extra hard in the conversion process and choose any means possible to convert these heathens." With such marching orders, earthly consequences can be cavalierly disregarded. "It's not how we convert that matters," Paul insists. "Conversion is what counts."[3]

In India, considered one of the richest "harvest grounds" in the Unreached Bloc, the methods employed by missionaries like Paul have stirred seething bitterness and resentment among the "heathen" public. Perhaps no mission tactic galls more bitterly than the intentional targeting of any society's most vulnerable members--its children.

Missionaries have long capitalized on the leverage they exercise over India's young through thousands of church-run hospitals, schools, and orphanages. In a 1923 report to Rome gleefully titled "The Spiritual Advantages of Famine and Cholera," the Archdiocese of Pondicherry related how a famine had "wrought miracles" in a local hospital where "baptismal water flows in streams, and starving little tots fly in masses to heaven." A hospital is a "ready-made congregation," the report contended, where there is "no need to go into the ... hedges and compel them to 'come in.'" Thanks to infection, they "send each other."[4]

Thirty years later, a government inquiry exposed the wile by which the baptismal water had been made to follow so easily. Catholic priests had been instructed to learn something of medicine in order to gain access to the bedsides of sick Hindu (and Muslim) children. There, on the pretext of administering medicine, the priests secretly baptized the children before they died.[5] What is troubling are the reports that this practice continues today, with formulas of baptism whispered and holy water sprinkled surreptitiously over non-Christian patients even in the hospices of such well-known orders as the Missionaries of Charity.[6]

Christian missionary schools, too, remain ubiquitous in modern India. Many Hindu families believe that missionary schools offer a good education; for others, a church-run school is their only, or only affordable, option. Nonetheless, these schools can abuse parents' trust by trolling the classroom for converts. In one highly-publicized 1998 case, the I. P. Mission Girls' School in the town of Rajkot, Gujurat state, issued New Testaments to Hindu schoolgirls and pressured them to sign declarations of Christian faith. The declaration, printed on the last page of each New Testament volume, stated that each signatory was a "sinner" and that she had accepted the Lord Jesus as her "personal savior."[7]

Naturally, parents were outraged. <b>Not only was this "conversion" performed without their consent--illegal in India when minors are involved--but several girls reported that school staff had intimidated them into signing the declaration. </b>Parents and other Hindus marched to the school to protest, and a wave of publicity quickly mounted. Embarrassed, the school recalled the New Testaments and published an apology with the promise that "such literature" would not be distributed again.[8]

Along with the apology, the school accurately denied a rumor alleging that protesting parents had burned copies of the Bible during their demonstration. Nevertheless, this rumor circulated wildly in the India's English-language press and was later repeated uncritically by Western media, adding fuel to a propaganda campaign that claimed that Christians in India faced regular persecution from Hindu fundamentalists. Since the campaign began, the money to missions in India has increased considerably--demonstrating that prosecution of the Great Commission requires more than Bibles and baptismal water. John Joseph, a Christian member of the National Minority Commission charged with investigating reported cases of persecution, complained that most of the cases that hit national and international headlines in recent years were nothing but "colorful lies, half-truths or highly exaggerated stories unleashed by Indian Christian NGOs and missionary groups to mobilize Christian donor agencies to open their wallets."[9]

Even when the wallets are open, overseas ministries feel strong pressure to pay at least part of their own way. Some missionaries have become quite inventive fundraisers; others have sought revenue in less than ethical ways, as recent exposures of child-adoption rackets in missionary orphanages have revealed.

Like parochial schools, church-run orphanages have long been fixtures of Christian evangelism in India. Legally wards of the orphanage, the children are usually raised as Christians, and it is not uncommon for those who do not find homes to adopt the church as their surrogate family and become priests or nuns when they mature. This swells the ranks of native clergy, a welcome bonus given the dearth of seminary admissions in the West. Distasteful as this may be to many Hindus, an Indian orphanage is within its rights to raise its wards as it sees fit. Still, those rights do not extend to fraud. But fraud is what twenty-five families encountered in 2001 in Arunachal Pradesh, a mountainous state in India's northeast.

With the promise of providing their children an education, a Catholic priest from the neighboring district of Nagaland reportedly charged parents 10,000 rupees per child (about $250 each) for tuition, room, and board at the St. Emmanuel Mission Convent in Rajasthan, some 2,500 kilometers away in India's northwest. That price was high, but parents considered it a bargain for a "sahib-run" (i.e., Western-style) school. Some parents later developed misgivings, however, and traveled to Rajasthan to visit their children. On arrival they were shocked to discover that the children were not enrolled at St. Emmanuel's. In fact, they were not in any school at all--they had been placed in an orphanage. The priest who ran the orphanage said he had paid 5,000 rupees per child to a fellow priest--from Nyasaland--and allegedly demanded compensation for this sum before releasing the children to their families.[10]

The victims of such schemes typically come from India's "tribals," Hindu communities in India's most underdeveloped enclaves that have retained distinct local cultures that set them apart from the modern Indian mainstream. Illiterate and desperately poor, tribals rank high on missionaries' target lists for conversion. They are the unreached of the Unreached.

Both Rome and its Protestant competitors have been particularly aggressive in efforts to convert the tribals. Exploiting customs that make female children economic burdens on their families, missionaries reportedly induce tribal mothers to relinquish baby girls shortly after birth. Often the mothers are promised that rich Westerners will adopt their daughters and they will live a "much better life." The mother is typically paid about $70 for her child, which is then adopted by Western parents for a "donation" of $2,500.

There is an irony to the notion of tribal "orphans," according to Arvind Neelakandan, a volunteer with the Vivekananda Kendra (VK), a Hindu nonprofit that works among the tribals. In most tribal communities, Neelakandan explains, "Orphans as we know them are nonexistent"; parentless children are typically cared for by their extended family. But, he explains, missionaries will "fleece money from their foreign donors by projecting these very same children as 'orphans'" in fundraising campaigns. Indignant, Neelakandan suggests that, rather than focusing their efforts on schemes to raise money or allure converts, evangelists ought to focus on the social betterment of tribals, particularly their young girls. The VK, for instance, specializes in educating tribal girls in useful--and secular--subjects such as science and mathematics.[11]

The practice of allurement, or providing "inducements" to the poor in return for their conversion to Christianity, is quite common, and one that many missionaries readily admit using. It is also nothing new. In the days of the Portuguese invaders, the Jesuits simply paid Hindus by the hundreds to participate in mass baptisms. Today's methods are more subtle: conversions are now "bought" with food, medicine, promises, and micro-loans. Micro-lending programs are increasingly popular, providing a revenue stream for cash-strapped missions as it adds financial credit to the other blandishments missionaries can offer in exchange for conversion.

The practice of enticing the hungry and sick to Christianity with offers of food and medicine is not illegal per se, but is hardly ethical--especially given that so many of the tribals and dalits ("untouchables"), who are its typical targets, have little or no understanding of the concept of religious "conversion." The notion of conversion as such is alien to Hinduism. Recognizing this, Mohandas Gandhi criticized the practice in no uncertain terms: "I strongly resent these overtures to utterly ignorant men," he once protested, criticizing missionaries who, in order to gain converts, "dangle earthly paradises in front of them [dalits] and make promises to them which they can never keep."[12]

Whatever one calls the offer of material allurements in exchange for religious conversion, it does not deserve the appellation of "charity." But this is lost on missionaries like Paul, who offers no apologies when confronted with Hindu objections. "If Hindus believe that certain tactics like offering money, food or clothes to their naked children in return for embracing Christ is immoral, then what can I say?" he protests. "All congregations and missionaries have been advised to follow these techniques, as others will only fail. Sounds immoral but that is the only way."

One cannot help but ask how conversions garnered through allurements can in any way be considered sincere, to say nothing of genuine, in the sense that the convert has experienced a significant change in beliefs. This has been a longstanding criticism of evangelical methods, and missionaries in India are reminded of it each time money runs short: they are forced to renege on their promises, and their flocks return to Hinduism. But when asked how aping conversion for a bowl of food could be considered a "real" conversion, Paul has a quick, if rather optimistic, answer. "Embracing Christ through 'food,' 'shelter' or some other way may be considered a full conversion," he says, because "their children," being raised in the Church, "will soon be one-hundred-percent Christian."

History suggests otherwise. Duarte Nunes, the missionary prelate of Goa, expressed the very same doctrine as far back as 1520.[13] Almost five hundred years have since passed, much of that time under the rule of pro-Christian imperial governments, and yet Christians stand at no more than 2.4 percent of India's population. That may be why, out of either impatience or desperation, some missionaries have chosen to adopt more persuasive measures than allurement to secure conversions.

In the time of Duarte Nunes, support of the Portuguese military allowed the Jesuits to have Hindus forcibly seized and their lips smeared with pieces of beef, 'polluting' them as Hindus and thus making Christianity their only option for salvation.[14] Such blatancy is not possible today. Instead, the violence of others can be used as a threat.

The tribal village of New Tupi lies in a deep, forested valley in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. It also borders the district of Nagaland, where a guerilla war between Naga separatists and the Indian government has ground on for years. A Protestant missionary started a primary school in New Tupi and actively evangelized there for a number of years. Response to his ministry was lukewarm, however, and villagers report that their pastor was feeling pressure to move on to greener "unreached" pastures. Failing to uproot the people from their traditional Vaishnavite faith (a monotheistic branch of Hinduism) apparently became a prestige issue with him, so as a last resort he played what could be called his "trump card."

The pastor of New Tupi began preaching a new sermon. According to villagers, he told them to "get converted within one and a half months," or else "everybody will be in trouble." In his warning he allegedly invoked the name of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN, the gun-toting insurgents in nearby Nagaland who, as locals know well, indulge in kidnapping and extortion. The people of New Tupi clearly got the pastor's message: Convert to Christianity now, or terrorists may soon arrive at your doorstep.[15]

Sadly, this is not solely the behavior of a few renegade clergy. Displaying the "neurosis of the converted," as V. S. Naipaul terms it, many ex-Hindu converts seek to demonstrate their faithfulness to their new creed by affecting open hostility toward the faith they abandoned. This hostility is usually expressed through contemptuous labeling: calling Hindus "heathens" and Hinduism "demonic" or "evil." Too often, contempt manifests as physical aggression: disrupting Hindu festivals, harassing recalcitrant family members or neighbors, and desecrating Hindu temples and relics.

Tension between converted tribals and their Hindu neighbors had gained national press coverage in Dangs, a district in Gujurat state. The conflict grew so intense that villages and even families were being rent apart. In 1999, India's National Human Rights Commission convened a special investigation into the conflict. Some of the most damning testimony that investigation heard was given by Ghelubhai Nayak, a respected social scientist and disciple of Gandhi, who has worked in tribal welfare in Dangs for over fifty years.

In his testimony, Nayak said that the conflict in Dangs was rooted in the work of the Christian missionaries. In the preceding three years, Nayak stated, there had been at least fifteen instances in which Christian converts, "under the influence of their preachers," desecrated idols of the Hindu saint Hanuman, who has been venerated by the Dangs tribals for generations. <b>In one incident, he said, the converts urinated on a statue of Hanuman, in another they "crushed Hanuman's idol to pieces and threw it away in the river." In addition to the desecration, Nayak testified, converts had raised the ire of their Hindu neighbors by repeatedly publicly denouncing Hindu saints as shaitans, or "Satans." This was done, again "under the influence of their preachers." </b>The native clergy, it seems, where also ex-Hindus afflicted with the Naipaulian "neurosis."[16]

On the whole, no one can deny that through the efforts of Christian evangelists, thousands of people across the developing world have been fed and clothed. But the question remains, when the benefits of mission work are weighted against the social costs of aggressive proselytizing, are the peoples of the Unreached Bloc better or worse off for having Christian missionaries in their midst?

One has to wonder. According to the World Evangelization Research Center (WERC), there are more than four thousand mission agencies. Collectively they operate a huge apparatus, manned by some 434,000 foreign missionaries wielding an annual global income of eighteen billion dollars. And yet, for all the money that is spent--an astonishing average of $359,000 for every person baptized--the benefits of evangelism are meager.[17] Even harsher realities are revealed by WERC research, which finds that most plans to evangelize the world have fallen "massively short" of stated goals and reveal that church embezzlement equals the annual global income of the missionary enterprise.[18]

Meanwhile, the quality of life for India's Christian population remains dismal. Despite "crocodile-tears for the oppressed," says Edamaruku, and contrary to apologists' frequent boast that Christianization brings justice and equality to the "untouchables," dalits who convert find that as Christians, they remain "as 'untouchable' as they had been as Hindus."[19] While more than 75 percent of the Catholics in India are dalits, dalits make up less than 5 percent of Indian priests. Most priests come from upper castes. The vast majority of the church hierarchy is upper caste also, a fact bitterly lamented by Christian "untouchables."[20]

Undeterred, Christendom forges ahead with its drive to plant churches. As Paul tells us, the Vatican planned to add forty percent to its missionary budget for India in 2003. "That could mean a lot of rupees," he says. "More churches will be built in India, thus more converts." That those rupees could be spent on more productive endeavors does not occur to him.

Even the assertion that mere exposure to Western ideas and institutions provides some benefit holds little water, particularly when the principal effect of mission work is to replace one set of superstitions with another. Tales of miraculous healings, even exorcisms, are frequently found in evangelical newsgroups. In a typical testimonial, an ex-Hindu claimed that, after losing her sight following a fever, her husband had practiced Hindu "witchcraft" on her but could not heal her. But, after "accept[ing] the Good News" and taking a vow "never to worship idols," the woman "felt a touch" on her eyes and was miraculously made to see. "Now," she says, "I am all right and all my family members have accepted Jesus Christ."[21]

This is hardly the fruit of Western "enlightenment." In the end, evangelism seems to offer little more than an exchange of idolatry for bibliolatry, gods for devils, and magic for dogma. Meanwhile, families are ruptured, division sown among communities, and ancient traditions no less valid or holy than those striving to replace them are disparaged for the sake of a jealous ideology bent on homogenizing the world.

It is not widely advertised in the West that Gandhi, that icon of compassion and self-sacrifice, detested proselytizing. In his Collected Works, he states categorically that "the idea of conversion ... is the deadliest poison which ever sapped the fountain of truth."[22] If missionaries could not conduct service for its own sake, he said, if the price of their charity was conversion, he preferred that they would quit India altogether. This was a man who was neither a Hindu "fundamentalist" nor extremist. And he well knew the suffering and need of his poorest countrymen.[23]

Nonetheless, missionaries in the field remain ever optimistic, albeit misguided, about what they are doing. "I do admit our means of conversation are almost horrible in nature," admits our friend Paul, "but I suppose we are doing this for a reason." Self-doubt seems to hover in his words, but he then finds harbor in a familiar rationale. "The reason is Christ. It is honorable."

He then pauses and asks, "Wouldn't you say so?"



[1] "The Last Frontier," International Mission Board, December 19, 2002, http://www.imb.org/core/WE/lastfrontwo.htm. An entire research industry, deploying specialized racial and linguistic databases, ethnic mapping projects, and training resources, has been mobilized for the world evangelism movement. See, for instance, Global Mapping International (http://www.gmi.org/index.html). An updated version (November 6, 2003) is available at http://www.imb.org/WE/lastfront.asp.

[2] Sanal Edamaruku, "Indian Rationalists Defend the Right to Criticize Pope," Rationalist International 22 (October 25, 1999). See also "Vatican's Asian Agenda Revealed," 25 (November 14, 1999).

[3] Paul [pseud.], e-mails to author, 23 December 2000, through 03 February 2001.

[4] Arun Shourie, Missionaries in India: Continuities, Changes, Dilemmas (New Delhi: HarperCollins India, 1994), p. 16.

[5] Government of Madhya Pradesh, Report of the Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee, (Nagpur: Government Printing Press 993, 1956), vol. 2 part B, p. 54, quoted in Shourie, p. 8. The document is also available online at http://www.secularindia.com/niyogi_commi...report.htm.

[6] Particularly notable is the memoir of Susan Shields, former member of the Missionaries of Charity, whose unpublished manuscript, In Mother's House, is quoted in Christopher Hitchens, The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice (London: Verso, 1995), pp. 43-50. Shields also published a brief article in FREE INQUIRY concerning her experiences ("Mother Teresa's House of Illusions," Free Inquiry, Winter 1997/98, pp. 31-32.)

[7] I. P. Mission Girls' High School, declaration of faith (July 1998, photocopy with translation).

[8] Office of the Principal, I. P. Mission Girls' High School, letter to Rajkot VHP and Bajrang Dal (July 1998, photocopy with translation). See also Ravindra Agrawal, "Church Conspiracy in the Guise of Service," available online at http://www.hssworld.org/all/baudhik/christ...CONSPIRACY.html.

[9] Sanal Edamaruku, "Are Christians Really Persecuted in India?" Rationalist International 43 (27 July 2000).

[10] Vishwinath, "Church as an Edifice of Fraud!" Breezy Meadows (organ of the Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalayas Arunachal Pradesh Trust) 2, no. 9 (July 2001): 3.

[11] Aravindan Neelakandan, personal e-mail to author, 11 January 2002.

[12] Mohandas Gandhi, The Collected Works (New Delhi: Government of India Press, 1976) 64:400.

[13] M. D. David, ed., Western Colonialism in Asia and Christianity (Bombay: Himalaya Publishing House, 1988), p. 8, quoted in Sita Ram Goel, History of Christian-Hindu Encounters, AD 304 to 1996 (Voice of India, 1996), p. 14.

[14] David, p. 19, quoted in Goel, p. 12.

[15] Vishwinath, "Pastor Threatens to Call Army of the 'Good Shepherd' to New Tupi!" Breezy Meadows 2, no. 6 (April 2001): 4.

[16] Ghelubhai Nayak, (fax transmitted to Special Bench of the National Minorities Commission, India, 7 January 1999), quoted in Arvind Lavakare, "A Gandhian Speaks Out from Dangs," Rediff On the Net, 19 January 1999 (19 December 2002), http://www.rediff.com/news/1999/jan/19arvind.htm.

[17] David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson, "Status of Global Mission, 2004, in Context of 20th and 21st Centuries," World Evangelization Research Center, January 2004 (July 12, 2004), online at http://www.gem-werc.org/resources.htm. Nor are the mid-2004 figures unusual: Barrett and Johnson noted that "ecclesiastical crime" exceeded mission income by $1 billion in their 2003 report. According to their mid-2004 report, ecclesiastical crime is growing at more than 6 percent per year and is projected to exceed mission income by $5 billion in 2025!

[18] $20 billion in "ecclesiastical crime" versus $20 billion in global income. See Barret and Johnson.

[19] Sanal Edamaruku, "God Longs for All Hindus! Covert Operations of the Evangelical Church in India," Rationalist International 83 (29 November 2001).

[20] See "Problems and Struggles: Archbishop Arulappa Condemns Vatican for Promoting a Dalit Bishop as His Successor," Dalit Christians (19 December 2002), http://www.dalitchristians.com/Html/arulappa.htm.

[21] "India: And the Blind Receive Sight!" Fax of the Apostles (April 2001), quoted in "Religious World News for Mission Mobilizers," Brigada Mission Mobilizers, 27 April 2001. Electronic subscription.

[22] Gandhi, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (New Delhi: Government of India Press, 1971) 64:203.

[23] Gandhi, 46:28.

<b>Christianity's scorned feminine </b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->New Delhi: The Genesis stated man and woman were equal. <b>But in the Bible, Eve - created from Adam’s rib - was considered inferior.
She was the temptress who is said to have caused the fall of man. </b>

Ever since the mythological era, <b>women in Christianity - especially in the Catholic Church - have had to live on an unequal footing with man</b>.

When author Dan Brown’s sensational book The Da Vinci Code propounded the theory of Mary Magdalene - a woman looked down upon as a prostitute - being the closest apostle (or may be even wife) of Jesus Christ, it shook the patriarchal Christian world.

The controversy over the authenticity of the Da Vinci masterpiece, The Last Supper – where Magdalene is shown sitting towards Jesus’ right - is far from over, but the Christian world continues to question how a woman could have been so close to Christ.

“While no one has a problem with Mary Magdalene being a close apostle of Jesus, the problem lies in the fact that the book claims he was married to her. That's what everyone has a problem with,” President, All India Catholic Union, John Dayal says.

<b>Well, fiction alright, but the book sure is one of the best examples of the Catholic Church's aversion to women.</b>

<b>Sister Mary Scaria has been a nun for 21 years. Today the 44-year-old nun is a lawyer with the Supreme Court. Qualified though she is, she can only aspire to become the Superior General of her Congregation</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Although the traditional route to conversion has been the use of fanatical missionaries and evangelists who directly confront hindu individuals and communities with the bible, there so many other ways christians are pushing their christian agenda on unsuspecting hindus and persons of other faiths in India, notably the use of the media.

As an example, the news media CNN-IBN has been constantly raising hindu issues (no matter how trivial some of these issue are), and raking controversies over them. First it was the caste reservation issue (granted that this was a big news everywhere, so not surprisingly they had a field day with this one); second it was about the alleged'low' status of women in Hinduism; next was the issue of dowry in hinduism, etc. Nowhere is there a discussion on issues and controversies surrounding christianity.

The banners on the top of the IBN Live homepage are christian messages; invitations to study the bible, understanding christianity, and even one that claims to correct the 'inccuracies' or 'fallacies' in the novel The Da Vinci Code. This media, like the Times of India and other christian newspapers in India, started out by presenting itself as secular media in order to increase their readership, primarily hindu readership. But slowly, just like other news media, this too has started making its christian agenda very apparent. In their moderated forums, any criticism of christianity is not posted, and those that take an anti-hindu stand, coming from, what it seems as though, hindu readers themselves (although in this age of the crypto christian, a reader calling herself 'smita' or 'varun' could as well be a 'mary' or 'samuel'), are given priority. In order to give an appearance of 'balanced' view, they will post one in defense of hinduism and post several others that shoot down this pro-hindu view.

Interestingly, after several hindu readers complained bitterly about its obvious anti-hindu stand, today the IBN Live has chosen to present a small article on the gender inequality in Christianity, specifically Catholicism, as a pacifier. No doubt they will revert to more hindu issues in the coming days, and then throw a small one on Christianity now and then when hindu readers complain. Thus the game goes on….

A classical example of devious christian, who crawls slowly and quietly like snake, keeping low profile while steadily approaching its intended target, and then strikes.

The christians have long ago realized the importance of the news media in pushing their Christian agenda. The strategy is obvious: Control the news media in a nation, and you can manipulate and control every aspect of society.
Predatory Christians

Commentary: Of Karma and Dharma
By Ramesh N. Rao
UPI Religion & Spirituality
FARMVILLE, July 7 (UPI) — I have been reading a new book, given by my good friend who taught world religions at Longwood University till last year. The book, by the well-known religion scholar Raimon Panikkar, adumbrates what my friend hopes will enable Christians to become better Christians and to become more accepting of other faiths and religions. I have argued with my friend that the Raimon Panikkars of the world are too few, and have little influence in the hurly-burly of Christian politics.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->VHP opposes Christian crusade
Vijayawada, July 14: The Viswa Hindu Parishad on Friday took strong exception to the religious campaign by the Christian groups at Tirupati. The VHP central governing council meeting held at Gwalior for two days from July 8 condemned the campaign by the Christian gro-ups at Tirumala and called upon the government to take stringent measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

VHP Poorvandhra secretary P.V.S. Naidu, while releasing the resolutions of the central council here, said that the religious campaign by the Christian gro-ups at Tirumala had disheartened the Hindus acro-ss the world.

He said that the VHP also took objection to the appointment of people of other faiths in the Tirumala Tirupati Devasth-anams which was against the rules of the TTD Act. He said that a fact-finding committee of the Pejwar Mutt found that over 20 Christians were employed in the TTD.

This is actually more appropriate here.
I've summarised bits of a history text I'd read at Post 201 of reservations thread (I will try finding out whether I wrote down the title or author of that book anywhere). It's about how India's situation under Sonia is looking like a mirror of what happened to ancient Rome.

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